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Former child actress Jonshel Alexander has died after reportedly being shot while inside a car.
The 22 year old starred in the Oscar-nominated feature film Beasts of the Southern Wild back in 2012, when she was 12 years old.
According to local news website Nola.com, police reported that an assailant fired shots into their vehicle at the 1500 block of North Claiborne Avenue in New Orleans at about 9pm local time on Saturday night (3am UK time).
Ms Alexander was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics, while the other occupant of the vehicle drove himself to a hospital.
Investigators are now appealing to the public to come forward with any information they may have about the case.
Distraught mother Shelly Alexander paid tribute to her daughter on Tuesday, telling The New Orleans Advocate: "She brought life to everything,"
"Jonshel was feisty, jazzy, spoiled. It was her way or no way."
Recalling the audition process for Beasts of the Southern Wild, she said: "Jonshel was like, 'It's going to be me.' They fell in love with Jonshel."
Jonshel was among 4,000 Louisiana natives who were auditioned before director Benh Zeitlin for lead roles.
She played a supporting role as Joy Strong in the movie, which is set at the time of Hurricane Katrina.
Director Zeitlin added his own note of reflection on Wednesday, describing Jonshel as an “absolute one-of-a-kind, unforgettable, force-of-nature human being."
The filmmaker added: “We incorporated a part into the film that was very much inspired by her.
"A lot of the lines were written by her, and so much of the character grew out of who Jonshel was. Her character in the film is named Joy Strong, which always seemed like a perfect description of Jonshel.
"She was a really bright burning light.”
One fan on Twitter emotionally wrote: "wow. rest in peace jonshel alexander, this life is unfair and we can only imagine how much more you had to give. thank you for playing such a powerful role in a film that impacted me so much as a child."
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